Drawing Active Region 2781
Well, finally I got to see Active Region 2781 !! This active region is an enormous sunspot island of activity. AR 2718 is making its way across the Earth-facing surface of the sun. The last few years have given us crumbs in sunspot regions. However, the suns new eleven-year solar cycle has begun. We can look forward to more action in the future.
This active region is over 100,000 km long. I was pleased to be lucky enough to have the time and a sunshine morning to capture it. These are somewhat complex drawings to do. Sometimes my pastel blows off the page before I get to fix it. I also have to try to balance the focus and the bandwidth every few minutes to enable clarity. Or at least the best achievable clarity. That morning the seeing wasn’t the best. The edge of the solar disc was wobbling like the heat haze you sometimes see on the road on a hot day. So now and then the sharpness of the AR was acceptable however more often it was not clear.
November 9th gifted me another sunny morning. This time I decided to do a white light drawing of the same area. Again the seeing was not so good. I tried various eyepieces to see which one would help me capture the best detail. The 14mm offered the best view, I made an effort to use a 2 x Barlow but that only increased the seeing issues. So I persevered and produced this pencil sketch. It would have been nice to do a h-alpha sketch as well but the clouds rolled in and closed me down.
Much to my surprise the white light pencil sketch turned up as Solar Activity Picture of the Day ! This is a Facebook group of 23,000 solar folks. The group is mainly populated by astrophotographers so therefore 99.99% of the pictures of the day are outstanding images of the sun in real time. The group is called SOLARACTIVITY if you are interested in this aspect of astronomy. I was very pleased that a mear pencil sketch was given this honour.